HUE AND CRY: a phrase that means “an uproar” over an issue

hue and cry

How many times have we heard it in a news broadcast? “The hue and cry raised by the Senator’s announcement could be heard all the way to Washington.” The meaning is clear.   There was an uproar.  People were upset.  The protests were about to begin. I heard the comment on the news and thought to […]

WORD PATRONAGE: self-referential clarifications made in the context of writing or speaking

word patronage

I was thumbing through Garner’s Modern American Usage the other day looking for something for a piece I was writing.   I turned a page and saw an item listed which intrigued me.  It was Word Patronage.   I was curious what it was all about, and discovered that it was something that related to my own […]

OKAY: everything’s just fine


I never think about the word okay.   I just use it regularly without much thought.    Garner’s Modern American Usage says the term is a casualism, meaning that it’s not really an accepted word in good usage.  But I think Garner may be a little out of date with that thought.   In today’s experience of speaking […]

OFTEN : frequently


    You may be scratching your head and asking yourself why I would choose such a common, easily-understood word as the focus of today’s blog posting.   I don’t blame you. But the reason I chose the word often is that it may well be one of the most mis-pronounced words in American English.   It […]

ERR [ur]: to stray, to drift away from the stated purpose


I have to be honest and say that my primary purpose for featuring the word err today is not about its definition; it is about its pronunciation.   Just about everyone knows that to err is to make a mistake, to wander away from an intent. The supposedly biblical phrase is so often quoted: “To err […]

EXPEDIENT: fit to fulfill a purpose


Every now and then I discover that I’ve been using a word incorrectly.  Being somewhat of a wordsmith, this is embarrassing, to say the least.   Such is the case for the word expedient. I have been using this word for years, thinking that it meant speedily, or in good time.  For some reason, there […]